CONTRIBUTED BY CRAIG LAPINE
When you think of Okinawa, you think of some of the best diving in the world and some of the worst heat and humidity this side of the equator. What you don’t think of is ice hockey, but believe it or not there are several teams that play at Southern Hills Ice Arena in Naha.
The Okinawa Sniperz is a semi-American team (we have our fair share of Canadians too, eh?) that practices on Monday nights from 8:15 to 9:30ish. We take all types, from beginners (that would be me) all the way up to the really good players – all you need is love for the game of hockey and gear! All joking aside, the team is made up of US military personnel, DoD civilians, some Canadians and some Okinawans. We have a couple of women who play with us, so this is by no means a boys-only club.
The group that gets on the ice each week is great, just a bunch of folks who want to play some hockey, talk some trash and finish the occasional good-natured check.
Monday nights are practice/scrimmage nights and sometimes we play games against the Okinawan hockey clubs, which are always a good time.
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the team or coming out and skating with us, you can:
– Check out our Facebook page
– Join our Facebook group
– Contact the team managers, JJ (jenningswg) or Sean (codfather) (To prevent spam the “@ and gmail.com” has been omitted from the end of the email addresses in parentheses.)
– Or just come down to the rink and have a chat with one of us!
Practice is every Monday, with drills from 8:15 to 8:45. Get there early to help set up the nets! Puck drop is at 8:30 sharp. Monthly fees are currently 11,000JPY, or you can pay by the week at a rate of 3000JPY per night. Other rates are available for our younger skaters, talk to JJ or Sean about this type of issue.
Directions: To get to the Southern Hills Ice Arena from points north, take the Okinawa Expressway south to Exit 1. Once through the toll booth, turn left at the stoplight. At the second stoplight turn left again (more of a half-left than a full turn) and immediately turn half-left again, you will go up a pretty good sized hill on what looks to be a side street. At the top of the hill you will encounter a stop sign, turn left again. Southern Hills will be on your right less than 1/4 mile down the road.